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The automotive industry is speaking out about the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor.
Monday morning, Tesla (ticker: TSLA) CEO Elon Musk, using #JusticeForGeorge, tweeted surprise about the decision to charge only one of the police officers involved in the death of Floyd.
Musk tweeted later Monday he would be “off twitter for a while.” Tesla didn’t respond when asked whether the company had an official statement about Musk’s position.
General Motors (GM) CEO Mary Barra wrote a letter to all employees on Sunday that reads in part: “I am both impatient and disgusted by the fact as a nation, we seem to be placated by the passive discussion of why.” Barra advocated asking what can people do and reiterated GM’s commitment to inclusion, condemning intolerance and fighting injustice.
Ford Motor (F) Chairman Bill Ford and CEO Jim Hackett penned a joint statement on Monday. “We know that systemic racism still exists despite the progress that has been made,” reads part of the statement posted online. “Many of us cannot know what it is truly like to be part of a community of color, to know what it is like to be afraid for our children every time they leave the house, or to worry that this day might be our last. But as long as so many of our colleagues, our friends, live with that fear, how can we live with ourselves?”
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCAU) CEO Michael Manley sent out a communication to employees. He began by saying: “I am deeply disturbed by the events that have occurred in the U.S. and I wanted to express how I feel to all of you.” Later he said: “As employees of one of the largest companies in the world, we absolutely have the individual and collective power to make a difference.”
Tesla, GM, Ford and Chrysler are major U.S. auto makers, employing more than 600,000 people worldwide.
Tesla is the largest of the four by market value. In fact, Tesla is the second-most-valuable car company in the world behind Toyota Motor (TM). Tesla’s market value is more than double that of all three original Detroit auto makers combined. Shares are up about 100% year to date.
Ford, GM and Fiat Chrysler shares are down about 36% year to date on average, worse than comparable drops of the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average over the same span. With the exception of Tesla, the Covid-19 pandemic has hit auto stockshard in 2020.
Car sales in April fell more than 50% year over year. Auto sales for May, which were due around the end of the trading day Tuesday, are expected to be down about 40% compared with May 2019.